St Patricks Day 2016

Hey Guys!

I wanted to pop in with a fun weekend recap because this past weekend was a BLAST! About a month ago Brent had the idea to rent an Air B&B in Chicago for St Patricks Day weekend and invite a bunch of friends. Well out idea became reality and we met up with a bunch of our friends for a weekend of festivities!

Friday night we all made our way to the city to meet up at the condo. Brent, my friend Katie from college & her boyfriend all drove in together while I took the metro after work. As I waited for the train I got a text from Katie with this picture…

St Patricks Day 2016

Brent & PJ fixing the flat!

And the caption “totally got a flat” thankfully Brent & PJ were able to change the flat safely and not get hit by any of the cars flying by. Not too long after the text from Katie the train pulled up to the station and I made my way to get on…

Well after trying 4 cars, yanking on the doors with none of them opening, the train pulled away leaving me there in awe of what just happened… Thankfully my friend Megan, who drove me to the station after work, hadn’t left yet and was able to drive me to a different station to get the next train. I had to wait about an hour but I was able to get the next train to the city¬†and met up with the group at dinner before they even ordered!

View from the condo we rented

View from the condo we rented

We made our way back to the condo after a very late dinner and the 8 of us hung out had a few drinks and talked about everything and nothing before hitting the hay. Since Saturday morning we were planning on getting up bright and early.

St Patricks Day 2016

Gorgeous sun rise!!

Saturday started with this BEAUTIFUL view from the condo before we all got dressed and had a St Patty’s toast before heading to Bull & Bear.

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We had bought tickets for the Bull & Bear Top Of The Mornin St Patricks day party which started at 8. I cannot tell you the last time I went out drinking starting at 8am, and can tell you that the next time I do won’t be for a veryyyyyy long time ūüėČ Our tickets to Bull & Bear included drinks & brunch food so we found a spot near the bar and congregated there for the next 4 hours! We danced, sang to the songs and drank our little hearts out #balance ūüėČ

St Patricks Day 2016 Kaley & I St Patricks Day 2016

At noon we headed outside and met up with 4 of our friends who opted out of Bull & Bear and grabbed lunch at Lou Malnati’s. After lunch we all went back to the condo to recoup a bit from our 4hour drinking escapades with some Cards Against Humanity!¬†Once we recovered we headed down to the river front to see the green river and take some pictures, because well thats the point right! We said goodbye to a couple friends who had to head back home and then went back to relax some more before grabbing dinner.

St Patricks Day 2016

Chris, Kristina, Me, Brent, Kaley & Ryan at the river!

I forgot how hard it is to go H.A.M first thing in the morning and then continue to party the rest of the day, we all were pretty much done¬†at 2pm so relaxing, hydrating and napping sounded wonderful! We definitely aren’t 21 any more ūüėõ

St Patricks Day 2016 St Patricks Day 2016

After a while we decided to get dinner and made reservations at a sushi place down the road. Brent & PJ opted out of going as they both were exhausted and not feeling the best, so Ryan, Kaley, Katie & I headed out together for the BEST sushi experience of our lives.

If you are ever in the Fulton River District of Chicago you should definitely check out Tanoshii Sushi and splurge on Omakase tasting menu. You will not be disappointed and it is definitely worth the cost. We were treated to a multi-course meal and honestly each course was better than the one before. Since none of us really knew what was being put down in front of us, they told you but quickly, we made Ryan taste everything first and tell us what it was like before Katie, Kaley or I would try it. After a while we were laughing because Ryan would say “Thats the BEST one yet!” to almost everything he tried, and he wasn’t wrong!

St Patricks Day 2016St Patricks Day 2016

After dinner the 4 of us walked back to the condo in a sushi euphoria and settled in for a night of watching My Strange Addiction and seriously relaxing! It was the perfect ending to a fun day.

Most of the Gang!

Most of the Gang!

I am so glad that we have great friends who are up to coming and celebrating with us. It was so much fun to all get together and spend a weekend pretending that we were 21 again!

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Arnold Classic 2016

Hey Guys!!!

I am pretty embarrassed that it has been almost a solid month since I last blogged. To be honest I had two blog posts scheduled, one that never got published (even though I pushed publish) and another that I never completed because #life. But I am not here to make excuses just to say that this blog is my passion project and when I am not feeling passionate y’all suffer from reading anything life changing. But I am hoping to change that. I have some posts planned for you for the next couple weeks, one including a much needed recap on my Marc Megna training program.

But first lets talk Arnold Classic shall we…

The Arnold Classic

If you don’t know what the Arnold Classic is don’t feel bad, I didn’t know what it was either until about 3 years ago when I started dating Brent. Basically the Arnold Classic is the first major bodybuilding competition of the year, its where the major pros are and houses a TON of fitness competitions from Chess to Fencing to Cheerleading to Powerlifting and olympic lifting competitions, in addition to bodybuilding and figure competitions. Since the Classic is the first of the year and so big (the male winner of the Arnold often is favorited for Mr. Olympia), it houses a HUGE expo where fitness, nutrition and supplement companies come to launch their new products and promote their brand.

This year Kai Greene won the Arnold for the 3rd time, they had an indoor cycling competition for charity, pole dancing competition and jump rope contests. They also had a strongman competition where Eddie Hall deadlifted 1026# on the elephant bar, check out this youtube its pretty incredible!

Brent has been asking to go to the expo every year so for his birthday this year I got him tickets for three days of Arnold madness. Neither of us had gone before so were excited to see what it was all about, get some free stuff and have our minds blown.

Arnold Classic

Friday morning we go up BRIGHT and early to head to the expo around 8. We grabbed a quick breakfast at Einsteins and got in line to enter the expo, which opened at 9am. There was a line legit wrapping around the inside of the convention center and we anxiously waited with our 500000 other friends. Once we got inside we weaved through booths, crowds and grabbed samples as we wondered.

We really didn’t know what to expect, where to go, or what to do, so we mindlessly wondered, trying new things and talking to a few different people. Brent’s first stop was to Primeval labs to meet Jerry Ward and get his new product, BioS3. He was a super nice guy and was really great to talk to, Brent is pretty excited to check out his product. We spent about 5 hours wondering the expo checking out different supplements, brands and getting conned into a bench press competition (more on this later this week) before deciding that we were utterly exhausted and headed back to take a nap.

Brent & Jerry Ward

Brent & Jerry Ward

Friday night we headed to the Lifetime at Easton mall and got in a fun workout before heading to North Star Cafe for a fabulous dinner. I got a chicken and veggie Buddha bowl which was pretty dang amazing and a margarita, Brent got a black bean burger which was also freaking delicious and a beer. We headed home and crashed while watching the movie Home, which I will have to watch again because well I didn’t get very far ūüėČ

Saturday started a little later, we took our time getting ready before heading to the expo. When we got to the convention center via Uber, much easier than driving and looking for parking, we were pretty amazed that the number of people there had multiplied from the previous day. First thing on our agenda was COFFEE, while you get tons of samples of different energy drinks and pre workouts at the expo I needed a real caffeine fix.

Arnold Classic

After coffee we headed into the expo and started on the opposite end from where we started Friday in an effort to hit up vendors we missed Friday. We waited in a few lines, grabbed a few supplements and then decided we should get in line to see Jay Cutler (the bodybuilder, NOT the football player). We spent the better part of two hours in line to see Jay and it was the best 2.5hours we spent all weekend.

Arnold Classic

Our conversation with him lasted maybe 60seconds it was really great to meet him, he is a very kind and humble guy, who asked us if he could give us an autograph and then spent the extra time to joke with us about his relationship status and competition plans. While I wanted to get out of line about 50 times before we got to the front it was really great to meet a guy who has made such an impact on the fitness and bodybuilding world.

Arnold Classic Arnold Classic

Sunday was our last day at the expo and it since it opened later we had time in the morning to leisurely get up, pack and get going without feeling rushed. We knew of a few places we really wanted to go to, booths that we had missed on Friday and Saturday. So we headed to those first, stood in a few short lines but only for vendors we really wanted to see, neither of us were up to staying in super long lines to get a few extra supplements when we had bags full in our car.

Arnold Classic Arnold Classic Arnold Classic

We stopped by the “The Cage” and watched a powerlifter do some serious work. We missed his squat but it was apparently pretty legit but saw him bench >500# and Deadlift >700# like it was nothing. It was pretty dang impressive to watch a 50year old guy pick up such heavy weight and do it with such pride.¬†With that we headed to our car and made our way back to Ann Arbor to recover from a weekend of fitness bliss before heading back to Chicago today.

Day 1 Swag Stash

Day 1 Swag

Day 2 Swag

Day 2 Swag

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend (& past month), if you’re interested in going to the Arnold next year I would HIGHLY recommend going. It’s an experience you¬†won’t regret!

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Life Lately… Photo Style

Hi guys!! 

Life has been a bit busy the past two weeks, it’s amazing how quickly you forget what being out of town can take up so much of your time when you get back. Anyways we have been up to some fun the past couple weeks and I thought I’d share it here! 

Last weekend we headed to Michigan to see family and celebrate my & my aunts birthday. 

Saturday-

  
Camera class @ a local shop. Camera basics was a great intro and reminder of how to use camera settings. 

  
A quick shopping trip at REI for some birthday leggings, a treat from my Dad! ((The REI CO-OP leggings are THE BEST!!! seriously go buy them… NOW!))

  
Dinner and birthday gifts with Brent & my parents made for a perfect Saturday night! 

Valentine’s Day-

 Spin class sweat to start the day!!

  
Brunch with my extended family! So much food, so good! 

  Some quality time with my sweet neice, she is growing up so fast I can’t believe it!

A nasty drive home through snow followed by a FANCY valentines dinner of ((free)) Chipolte burritos & brownies. 

  
Work week filled with workouts, fitness and work. Nothing super exciting this week. 

Friday was a gorgeous day! I loved walking outside after my workout and having the sunshining  and not having to bundle up… Until the crazy winds hit ya in the face! 

  
Saturday started with a serious workout session. First an upper body max effort lifting session than a 60minute spin class. It was a fun double header at the gym! 

  
Brent & I took my car to get washed & we vacuumed out the inside, which was much over due. We also went and walked around a park to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather we had. 

  Dinner with friends Saturday night followed by a protein packed Sunday breakfast and a lazy productive remainder of the day. 

  We cashed in some wedding gift cards & bought a new coffee maker, so far we love it. 

Alright all caught up on our life the last two weeks. We have another couple busy weeks coming up but I hope to not drop off the face of the blogosphere. If you don’t follow me on Instagram (@allisoninwellnessland) and snapchat (@mywellnessland) you should, I’m much more active there! 

XO~

Health Benefits of the Steam Room

Hey Guys!

Lately I have been finding myself hitting the Steam Room after a couple workouts a week. I have been loving¬†my few minutes of alone time in the steam room after a workout and it got me thinking “What are the actual health benefits of the steam room”

Steam Room

I mean there HAS to be some scientific evidence behind the steam room as they are in almost every¬†gym locker room I’ve ever been to and people seem to swarm to them. But beyond sinus congestion relief and it “feeling good” I wasn’t sure if there was anything behind the sweat box I often find myself retreating to.¬†So I did a quick Google Search, super scientific all those evidence-based practice courses I took in PT school are paying off, and found a good amount of articles stating health benefits of the steam room & sauna. And since I wasn’t really sure about them, and wanted to save you the Google search, I thought I would share them here for all of us!

  1. Relieves Tension and Stress
    Sitting in the steam room for a few minutes can help relax tense muscles by soothing your nerve endings and warming up your muscles, according to an article on Health Fitness Revolution. This can help to alleviate joint pain and stiffness along with releasing endorphins.
  2. Clears Skin & Sinuses
    The heat causes your body to literally warm up which opens pores and helps clear out any impurities. Additionally this heat moistens and thins the mucous membranes which helps to reduce congestion related to sinus infections.
  3. Removes Toxins
    According to a Bodybuilding.com¬†article, the steam room will put your body in a “Hypertermia” state which is essentially tricking your body into feeling as though it was ill. This has been proven successful in killing off invading organisms as they are not able to live & thrive in higher than normal temperatures.
  4. Aids in Weight loss
    The hypertermic element of the steam room has been proven successful in removing fat stored toxins from the body. Additionally the steam makes you sweat and remove some water weight.
  5. Treats & Promotes Cardiovascular Health
    The heat stress from the steam room can help to remove calcium deposits in blood vessels and break down scar tissue from the vessel walls which contribute to heart disease. You are also dilating your blood vessels and capillaries resulting in improved ability for oxygen transport throughout the body.
  6. Relaxation
    THE BEST PART! It feels good. Being able to relax in a warm, soothing environment helps promote healthy muscle recovery and heat up to repair the muscles that you just worked.

Bodybuilding.com also had a quick list of different health benefits that I thought was a really nice reference.

Most steam rooms have a recommendation of 20minutes spent in the room at a time. I don’t usually last more than 15 because I get bored and fidgety, and there isn’t a clock so I never really know how long I’ve been sweating. But if you are someone who CAN relax in one for a long period of time I would recommend watching the clock and not going much beyond 20minutes. This is because when your body temperature rises above 102-103 degrees you are at risk of causing protein denaturing (essentially decomposition) not only in your muscles but more importantly in your brain. Similar to when you have¬†a really high fever¬†or are in a hot tub for too long. SO just my words of caution & disclaimer.

So there you have it, the super scientific health benefits of using the steam room.

Enjoy & sweat it out!

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Resources for this blog post can be found here & here.

Twenty-Eight Years

February Eighth, a date that I look forward to every year, it’s my birthday & today I turn twenty-eight, just another year closer to 30 ūüėČ

I think when you grow up your birthday has this seemingly huge impact on your life. In Elementary school each year is monumental and you get to bring cupcakes or some sort of treat to your class and feel super special. In middle school & high school you continue to feel important hitting those age milestones 13, 16, 18 and starting to get a little more freedom with each passing year. In college its all about partying, celebrating with your best friends and obviously turning 21 is a big one! But once college comes and goes there are a few years that are important but nothing significant in between.

A patient told me a little pearl from his father regarding age “after you turn 30 your age doesn’t matter again until it ends in a zero… you say you are THIRTY-two and¬†people only hear 30” I laughed at this but then later really agreed.

 

I love celebrating birthdays, and how you celebrate definitely changes as the phases in your life change. I remember some birthdays so much more than others, enjoy remembering parties and times spent with different friends and family, special cakes and gifts but most of all I love looking back on the years and remembering the moments and how they have made me grow as a person.

While twenty-eight isn’t a huge milestone birthday in the “unwritten book of milestones” but for me this year was a big milestone for me. Twenty-Eight is my first birthday married and its been a pretty fabulous one so far!

Twenty Eight Years Twenty Eight Years

This weekend Brent & I celebrated early and spent all day Saturday having a fun date day together. I headed to the gym first thing and got my sweat on, because well i knew I’d be eating quite a few calories to sweating some out before hand was definitely necessary. I did a new to me spinning class at our gym, I hadn’t done a spin class in a few years so it was a bit nerve wrecking before I headed in but it was SO worth it & I will definitely be back for more. I just wish the classes during the week weren’t so dang early! Then I headed to get my hair cut from my friend Stacie, it was nice to catch up with her and get some fresh locks.

Twenty Eight Years

When I got home I walked in to a cleaned kitchen, a birthday cake & my birthday gift from Brent. It was such a sweet surprise and definitely made me feel really special! We were both starving so we headed to a new local cafe Purple Sprouts that we had heard about from a coworker of Brent’s. Purple Sprouts Cafe is a vegan & raw cafe and juice bar that has only been open for a few months. The cafe is cute and bright with super fun colors and a very interesting menu. We decided to get a hemp burger and a seitan burrito which we decided to split and were both surprised by how satisfied we were from the lunch.
Twenty Eight Years

Twenty Eight Years

But that didn’t stop us from wanting to get coffee! We headed to a cute little coffee shop and got S’Mores lattes which were different, delicious and just the pick me up that I needed. We sat & chatted before heading home and relaxing for a few hours¬†before dinner.

Twenty Eight Years

We headed to E+O for dinner per a recommendation from a couple friends and it was awesome. The atmosphere was super cute a nice mix between industrial and modern without feeling too stuffy & the menu was really unique. A mix of tapas, entrees and sushi, which made decision making extra tough. We ended up splitting a Brussel sprout & kale salad, which was AMAZING I could eat it every day & Brent desperately wanted it paired with some fish on a taco, and a thin crust pizza. The pizza was also good it had some fun flavors and was different then anything I’ve had in a while, it wasn’t my favorite pizza I’ve ever had but it was still really good. We debated on getting a sushi roll but decided to just go home and eat cake!

Twenty Eight YearsTwenty Eight Years

After some cake &¬†gelato we decided to go to a local bar/restaurant Durty Nellies who had a band Hot Sauce Committee that did a Boy Band tribute which was freaking amazing. It was fun to go out and sing to some Backstreet Boys, N’Sync & Spice Girls. The band was hilarious, they were dancing and just genuinely looked like they were having a good time which made it even more fun. The only thing that sucked was how packed it was, I do not do super well with big crowded bars but oh well.

Twenty Eight Years

It was such a fun day getting to spend time with Brent without having anything else on the agenda, a true date day. On Sunday we did our¬†“normal” weekend stuff and then watched the Super Bowl on the couch with dinner at home…anddddd maybe got some FroYo for dessert! I mean it is ONLY your birthday 1 time a year ūüėČ

the only picture we got of each other... ugh I bummed with how grainy it is!

the only picture we got of each other… ugh I bummed with how grainy it is!

Brent made me feel beyond special on Saturday as we were able to just enjoy life together because at the end of the day its about the MOMENTS we spend with someone celebrating not the GIFTS that we were given.I am excited to see what year twenty-eight has in store for me!

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What We're Eating – Macro Meal Plan

Hey Guys!

I haven’t done a “What I Ate Wednesday” or food prep post in a longggg time but have no fear, we continue to meal prep each week so we have healthy delicious meals each week. Lately Brent & I have been trying to clean up our meals and get back focused on macros to help cut some of that winter fluff that has accumulated around our midsections.

We dropped our calories and are focusing on a solid macro split so I thought I would share what we are eating this week with y’all today.

Breakfast: 398calories; 6g C; 16g F; 52g P

1 scoop of Protein + 2tbsp Ground Flax
2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites, cooked in 1tsp coconut oil

Macro Meal Plan

Eggs are almost¬†always my go to morning meal & I usually just eat them scrambled up with some hot sauce. Some days I get “fancy” and will fry them but that undoubtably leaves me wanting some bread to soak the yolk up with.¬†Adding flax to my morning protein gives it a little more bang for the buck and a nice nutty flavor. PLUS it keeps all my systems going, if you know what I mean!
Some mornings I eat breakfast at 6:30am and other mornings I eat closer to 9 or 9:30. It depends on if I am going to the gym first thing (then its later) or if I start work at 7 (than its earlier). The rest of my meals will be shifted based on what time of day I eat breakfast, but generally will try to eat every few hours.

Morning Snack: 202calories; 25g C; 2g F; 21g P

2/3 cup Fat Free Cottage Cheese
1 White Grapefruit

Macro Meal Plan

A whole grapefruit and 2/3 of a cup of cottage cheese makes a super filling nutritious snack. I ALWAYS get hungry around 10-11:00am each day, especially when I start work at 7am and eat my breakfast at 6:30. Having a snack that has some protein, something a little salty and something a bit sweet really makes that time of day¬†better and I don’t go into lunch starving.

Lunch: 245calories; 30g C; 3g F; 33g P

Stir Fry Bowl
5oz Crockpot Chicken (red pepper flakes, fish sauce, rice vinegar & Sriracha)
7oz Roasted Broccoli
1/2c Roasted Mushrooms
1/4c cooked Quinoa

Macro Meal Plan

I love these bowls, they are loaded with flavor and PACKED with veggies. I roasted the broccoli and mushrooms at 375deg until lightly browned and fragrant, then combined the quinoa & lightly wilted spinach with the chicken made in the crockpot. You could use any seasonings for the chicken, I went pretty basic to not add many “empty macros” to a marinade but anything will work! These are super satisfying and make a fantastic filling lunch.

Afternoon Snack: 350calories; 3g C; 13g F; 56g P

1 scoop of Protein
Three 2oz Turkey Meatballs

Macro Meal Plan

These little meatballs are FULL of flavor! I cooked them with lightly caramelized onion, garlic, paprika, chipotle red pepper flakes. I measured out 2oz portions prior to baking them at 375deg for 40-50minutes until they were golden brown. You could easily put any flavors and spices in these to make them your own.
Some days I eat these right before going to the gym but most days I snack on these on my way home from the gym a few hours before dinner!

Dinner: 388calories; 43g C; 10g F; 27g P

5oz Broiled Salmon
120g Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Power Green Salad

((sorry about the terrible lighting guys... it tastes way better than this photo makes it look))

((sorry about the terrible lighting guys… it tastes way better than this photo makes it look))

We are cooking our salmon each night to keep it fresh and will likely use different seasoning to make it feel like a new meal. I love salmon and have been missing it in my diet so am excited about getting to incorporate it this week. We found salmon at Costco for a great price too! For the salad its really just a simple base of power greens, red bell pepper, roma tomato & caramelized onion and I’ve been topping it with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar. Simple & delicious!

Macro Break Down:

So heres our macro break down… We are eating just about 1600 calories which ends up being about 107g Carbs, 44g Fat & 188g Protein and almost a 30-20-50 split. Actually is 27-25-50, a little high in fat, 8g, and low in carbs 13g but good enough for us! This is a very protein heavy meal plan which was our intent for this week, we will likely tweak and change our macros again in the next week or two based on our goals/progress.

I hope this is helpful for any of you who are looking to start tracking macros and honing in on the nutrients. I am by FAR not perfect at calculating or creating perfectly balanced meals but I am working on finding balance and freedom with the use of macro management.

Happy Eating,

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Marc Megna Phase 2

Hey Guys!

I am on my 4th week of the Marc Megna Amp Trainer and have been loving it!! If you read my last update during the 1st Phase you’ll know that I was in a total fitness rut and need a boost¬†and this¬†8 week trainer was a welcome change.

During the phase 1 I did 3 days of total body lifting days and 2 steady state cardio days & it was a fun change to my previous 5 day split lifting schedule. Phase 2 is a little different in its set up, I’m still doing 3 days of total body lifting but now its 3 days of different cardio breakdowns.

Marc Megna Phase 2

The total body days this round went from 4 sets of 5reps (for most lifts) to 4 sets of 8 reps. So my focus switched from hitting max weight & sometimes failing during my 4th set. To really focusing on form during each lift and making sure that I could hit 8 reps (sometimes 6, dang bench press) with excellent form at a challenging weight.

Marc Megna Phase 2 Marc Megna Phase 2

I also love that there is 1 primarily bodyweight workout during the total body days. I sometimes have  difficulty balancing lifting and bodyweight exercises but know the importance of bodyweight exercises because they are super important for maintaining healthy joint alignment and stabilization. I also SERIOUSLY felt those single leg deadlifts, one of my favorite exercises that I do not do enough!

Marc Megna Phase 2

The cardio days are a welcome change to my routine as well. I loved phase 1 steady state cardio and getting to do some personal development reading when on the elliptical. Phase 2 brought a change to the cardio routine and I kind of love it!¬†Lets be real…. I am¬†terrible at motivating myself to do cardio, especially indoor cardio, so having a program “force” me to do the cardio is absolutely wonderful!

Marc Megna Phase 2

During this phase there is 1 day of¬†“Alactic Aerobic Intervals” which is basically 10 seconds of all out work and 50 seconds of recovery/rest for 16 & 18 minutes (depending on the week). I’ve done two of these workouts so far, one on the treadmill & one on the rowing machine. For both of these workouts I upped the work period to 15 seconds and then did an active recovery rather than a straight rest because lets be real, I wouldn’t get back on the treadmill ūüėČ

Marc Megna Phase 2

The other two days of cardio includes a steady state session & then a “Cardiac Power”¬†session. The cardiac power session is a prolonged work/recovery interval session. Doing 2 minutes of hard-but-manageable-work and 4 minutes of active-recovery, 6 times for a 36minute workout. Ive done this once and oh man was it hard! Its pretty sad to say that 2 minutes of hard running is a serious challenge but thats my current reality. I pushed myself through the workout which is EXACTLY why I am doing this program to push myself outside of my comfort zone and previous “gym box”.

I am excited for Phase 3 & 4 because I am truly loving this program and can’t wait to see the results of these 8 weeks.

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Weekending XVI

Hi Friend! Its another Monday & another Weekending update. These are some of my favorite posts to write and reflect on the week/weekend.

A very lazy weekend went down over here and honestly it did the body good. Sometimes it’s good to just sit back, relax and do nothing!¬†For the first time in a long time we had ZERO plans for the weekend, except the usual weekend tasks, and it was fantastic!

Friday night we went to the gym, did a great full body workout & put some sumo deadlifts back into my programming which were seriously difficult considering I haven’t been doing them regularly in foreverrrr.


After the gym we headed to the grocery store to get the basics for the week. Brent & I have returned to focusing on macro’s (macronutrients) and structuring our meals around a specific macro goal. We cycle in and out of counting macros when we feel like our bodies need a boost, we both are feeling a bit “fluffy” right now and just want to drop some of the fluff to look as strong/healthy as we feel!

Saturday was the ultimate¬†couch potato day. We got up made breakfast and then lounged with the intention of letting breakfast digest and going to the gym… Then we started watching House… A marathon of House and before I knew it I looked at the clock and it was 4:30…. WHAT THE WHAT!?!?


We headed to Costco & then had an impromptu date night at Pei Wei, I hadn’t been in forever & it was a nice cheat meal, followed by some Fro-Yo because it was right next door and we couldn’t say no! We ended the night watching the proposal and continuing to be lazy bums…

Sunday started a bit slower as well, but when I got up I was UP & got straight to work. Sunday is meal prep day and that’s exactly what I did… I mixed a Spark, made & ate breakfast and then spent about 3.5 hours chopping, baking and measuring out food.

The nice thing about being macro conscious is that meals take less time to prep, there’s usually only one or two steps and not a lot of ingredients. The not so nice aspect is that measuring out the food (& being precise) takes a lot more time than casually scooping 1/2 cup here or there into bowls. But 3.5 hours is pretty typical and I was done before 2!


We relaxed a bit before getting to the gym where I STRUGGLED through a cardio workout. I haven’t done prolonged interval training in a long time, Tuesday I did 15second intervals, but Sunday I did 2 minutes at a fast pace & 4 minute recovery. I did my work rate at a 7:20pace and then recovered at a 12:00 pace (which was a fast walk) I did 6 rounds of this and you guys I was dying when on the treadmill. I don’t know if it’s because my legs are super sore or what but man it was a hard workout. I spent some time rolling out my legs before hitting the bar and doing some pull up negatives.


Sunday night we prepped turkey burgers for the week and ate them for dinner. I love turkey burgers, it’s been a delicious addition to our meals and makes me think of summer!!!

What did you guys do this weekend? Anyone else have a super lazy one like us?

Hope you all have a wonderful start to your week!

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5 Core Exercises on your Foam Roll

Use your foam roll for more than rolling out your muscles… These 5 exercises are a great way to engage your CORE & get a whole body workout in! {VIDEO}

5 Core Exercises on Foam Roll

Happy Thursday!

One of the goals I set for 2016 was to post more FITNESS related content for you all! I have been feeling like this blog has gotten away from what my original intentions for it were and has become just a place for me to blabber about my life, which is fine but not ideal. I am going to make it a point to start feeding you all useful and practical fitness posts.

So today I am giving you 5 exercises to do with your foam roll… that ARENT rolling out your muscles!

I love using a foam roller & it is one of the most recommended fitness products that I recommend my patients to purchase, as they are generally not very expensive and a great tool! However your foam roller can be used for WAYYY more than just rolling out those sore muscles and it is a fantastic tool to amp up your body weight workout. PLUS that makes your $20 massage tool become a WORKOUT tool as well, and I am all about getting a bang for your buck! Also most gyms and fitness centers have foam rollers available for general use so if you have a gym membership but not a foam roller at home this works for you too.

This group of exercises focuses on your CORE as the predominant muscle group doing the work. Because of the cylindrical surface of the foam roll you get to really key into your deep core muscles (your Transverse Abdomens, ask my patients its my favorite muscle) and challenge them with a dynamic surface!

1. Plank Holds

The first exercise is a PLANK! Y’all this is a great way to spruce up your boring plank and get some extra activation in. Putting your hands on the foam roller will almost automatically kick in your Transverse Abs and make you stabilize extra hard. This is a DOUBLE whammy exercise because you are stabilizing through your shoulder girdle. Make sure you set your shoulders by externally rotating (try to bend the foam roll and try to rotate your shoulder blade back) which is an excellent way to strengthen those small shoulder girdle muscles important for stabilizing the shoulder during overhead and pressing exercises.

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Recommendations – Perform 4 sets of 30 second holds
Make It Easier – drop to your knees and preform a modified plank on your knees
Make It Harder – perform it single legged, alternate between feet (10 alternations per set) or perform a set on each leg (30second holds)

2. Plank Walks

A foam roll walk is a great way to kick those shoulder stabilizers into high gear and again strengthen them for overhead and pressing tasks. For this exercise you’re going to get into a high plank and then squeezing your core and gluts tight walk one hand out and back then repeating on the second side.

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Adding a theraband kicks these up a notch!

Adding a theraband kicks these up a notch!

Recommendations РPerform 4 sets of 10 walks PER arm
Make It Easier – drop to your knees and preform in a modified plank on your knees
Make It Harder –¬†add a theraband around your wrists to add resistance

{{Freebie}} Another way to amp up your plank is to perform a forearm plank roll out. Starting in a modified plank position (on your knees) and with your elbows on the foam roll, slowly start to flex your shoulders (bringing arm towards your ears) which will lower your abdomen towards the ground. At the point of maximal flexion start to pull your arms back so your elbows are under your shoulders by activating your lats and really focusing on keeping your core tight! It’s easy to let your back sag during this one, so FIGHT it!

these roll outs are LEGIT!!!

these roll outs are LEGIT!!!

3. Dead Bugs

Dead bugs are probably my patients least favorite exercise, they are tricky and look super goofy but are really effective in targeting my FAVORITE muscle and making you work to engage your transverse abs. When doing these on the foam roll you really have to dig deep and kick into your inner balance ninja!

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Using as little upper body support as possible, I used 1 finger of each hand, activate your core and elevate one leg to a 90-90deg position (90deg hip flexion & 90deg knee flexion) maintaining this position bring your other leg up to match before slowly lowering your legs back down one at a time in a controlled manner. Basically you are marching your legs, pausing in table top each time.

Recommendations РPerform 4 sets of 20 marches (up+up+down+down = 1)
Make It Easier –¬†use more upper body support
Make It Harder –¬†try to use 1 or NO upper body support, this is super hard and takes practice. If you can get NO upper body support try to maintain your feet in an elevated table top position without falling over!

4. Bridge Holds

Bridges are another of my favorite exercise, they are great for posterior chain strengthening and engaging your core (obvious trend!). Just like the plank hold, by putting your feet on the foam roll you are required to use more muscle activation and really keep everything tight!

5 Core Exercises On Foam Roll

Make it harder by doing Single Leg Bridges

Make it harder by doing Single Leg Bridges

Recommendations РPerform 2 sets of 10 reps with a 10second hold at the top
Make It Easier – Do not elevate your hips as high, or support your hips with your elbows on the ground. If the foam roll continues to make it too challenging perform on the ground.
Make It Harder Рperform it single legged, perform a 10second hold on each leg before switching to the next leg. Make it even harder by alternating without lowering your hips!

5. Hamstring Curls

These are a doozy!!! Starting in a bridge position with the balls of your feet supporting you, roll out into an extended leg posture while maintaining your elevated hip position, then in a controlled manner fire your hamstrings and pull your legs back toward your butt.

Start Position

Start Position

End Position

End Position

KEY TIP :: make sure you are towards to toe of your shoes so when you roll out the foam roll is rolling down your shoe towards your heel. ALSO make sure your core is rock hard and you are not arching your back when rolling out or back, this can lead to back pain and thats no bueno!

Recommendations – Perform 4 sets of 10 curls
Make It Easier Рdrop your hips and perform without the bridge position
Make It Harder –¬†you can try single legged if these are too easy, however they are pretty tricky as is!

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Alright so there you have it! 5 killer foam roller exercises that don’t involve rolling out your muscles. These moves can easily be coupled together into one workout that will not only blast your core but recruit your whole body, or you can add one or two to your workout to spruce it up! I personally love adding the planks & plank walks to supplement a shoulder workout, and then adding the bridges & hamstring curls with a leg day. They are excellent supplemental exercises!

Hope you enjoy & let me know if you have any requests for future workouts/exercises!

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Weekending XV

Happy Monday & Happy Birthday Martin Luther King JR.

I loved learning about MLK when I was in school, for some reason I was fascinated¬†with him. But it wasn’t until just a few days ago that I realized he was about the same age as my grandma!

I haven’t done a weekending post in forever so I thought I would do one today! This weekend¬†we did a bit of everything. It was the first weekend in a while when we had plans in Illinois each day. We were excited to see friends and do some activities we haven’t done before.

On Friday night we had a going away party for my coworker who is moving to NYC. He actually has been done with working for us for the past two weeks so it was nice to get to see him again, see some coworkers who work in different clinics and areas of the company & spend time with my new work team outside of the clinic ((I moved to a new clinic, within the same company, a few months ago)).

my lovely coworkers rocking a group selfie!

my lovely coworkers rocking a group selfie!

My coworker Snay will be definitely missed, he has that personality that makes you feel 100% a part of the group and he is really pretty funny, not to mention a fantastic therapist. He will do amazing things in New York and has an amazing opportunity ahead of him there!

Saturday morning we got up and hit the gym. I did my full body workout from Marc Megna’s program, I focused on my form during the deadlifts & tried to key into the information I’ve been reading in Kelly Starrets book. And then hit the rest of my workout hard! It felt good to get a workout in before what I knew would likely be an indulgent afternoon.

Once we got ready we headed to the city to Revolution Brewery where we met up with our friends Brian & Gina for the afternoon. We did the brewery tour at Revolution which was great, the tour is FREE & you get a beer at the start ūüĎćūüŹĽ plus it’s cool to hear about the history and growth plans for this small and growing brewery.

Brian, Gina. Brent & I at Revolution Brewery!

Brian, Gina. Brent & I at Revolution Brewery!

After the tour we headed to Honey Butter Fried Chicken for a late lunch/early dinner. The resturant was cute and bustling for 4pm, but they turned the food & tables over really quickly and the staff was super friendly. Brent & I split  the chicken strips, an order of buffalo Mac, & a side of the kale slaw (because balance!) Everything was super tasty!

HBFC - a must try!

HBFC – a must try!

Then we headed to watch the Packers game with Brian & Gina before heading home for the night.
Sunday was much more relaxed. We got up and headed to mass & met up with our friends Rich & Agnes for breakfast. We hadn’t spent time with the two of them in a while so it was nice to meet up and catch up on life over some yummy breakfast!

weekend

A small roll of toilet paper is a must have at Church!

A small roll of toilet paper is a must have at Church!

We did a couple errands before going home where I promptly took a 2 hour nap. I have been dealing with a bit of a cold and was feeling really drained and exhausted from all our fun. The nap was much needed ūüėä

Now it’s the start of a new week and time to check things off that to do list! Have a great Monday!

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